Every year, when the holidays roll around, I have people asking me for holiday themed children’s books to share with their kids or classrooms. This year, I’ve decided to make it easy by compiling my Top 5 Favorite Picture Books on Giving and Gratitude just in time for Thanksgiving.
Understanding gratitude, and practicing it regularly, is something I try to be mindful of each day…and I certainly don’t always succeed. Gratitude has to be taught and practiced consistently before it can be an integral part of our daily lives. I also try to instill this idea in my own children, through practice, example, and of course and always, through stories.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne
#1 The Invisible Boy
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend… No one ever seems to notice Brian, that is until Justin, the new kid in class, decides to include Brian in his project. Through this unlikely friendship, the once invisible Brian finds a way to shine. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig teaches readers that sometimes the most generous gift we can share, is one of attention and love.
#2 All the World
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon is one of my favorite books––one that I gift to others time and time again. The sweeping illustrations by Marla Frazee follow a family as they spend a day in town amongst their neighbors while the story reminds us there are a million and one ways to give every ordinary day that we live: The tiniest shell on the beach, the warmth of a meal with others, the beauty found in human connections are all things to give and be grateful for.
#3 Splat Says Thank You!
Who doesn’t love a good Splat the Cat book? If you’re a fan of this wacky cat and his mouse friend Seymour, or looking for a light laughable read about giving and gratitude, then grab a copy of Splat Says Thank You! by Rob Scotton. Seymour needs cheering up and Splat has an idea: Splat has been working hard on a very special thank-you book that shows all the warmhearted and hilarious reasons Splat is thankful for Seymour and their friendship.
#4 Thanks a Million
If you are a poetry lover, then Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes is the book on gratitude for you. Featuring a sixteen poems in varying formats from a haiku to a rebus riddle, Thanks a Million reminds readers how far a simple thank-you can go. Illustrations by Cozbi A. Cabrera compliment each poem in a seamless artful expression of giving and gratitude.
#5 The Giving Tree
And of course, a blog post on picture books about giving would be incomplete without mention of the Shel Silverstein’s, The Giving Tree. Published in 1964, this children’s classic explores the idea of selfless love, as shared between a boy and his tree. However, perhaps one of the most divisive books in children’s literature, I would be remiss not to mention the dual-nature of the tale, which also poses the question: Can selfless love be exploited? What do you think?
One Most Anticipated Picture Book of 2019 on Giving and Gratitude
What Is Given from the Heart by the late Patricia c. McKissack tells the story of James Otis and his Mama as they find ways to give despite what little they have themselves. When the Temples, neighbors and friends, lose everything in a fire, James’ church collects items the family may need. It takes James some time to figure out how he can contribute to the Temple’s “love box” when he has so little himself. The powerful tale of compassion reminds us that giving from the heart, touches the heart as well. Patricia C. McKissack is a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author. Some of her other notable picture books include: The Honest-to-Goodness Truth, Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!, Loved Best (Ready-For-Chapters) and Goin’ Someplace Special.
Do you have your own story to share? If you are ready to write a children’s book, or have a manuscript you would like me to edit, contact me below. I look forward to reading your story!